Monday, June 18, 2012

by our love

People in the Church spend a frankly inordinate amount of time talking about things that are Christian vs. things that are not Christian. This is silly, because Christian is a noun, and not an adjective. Christ-like is an adjective, but not one we use as often, probably because it's harder to beat people down with. Christ wasn't really a big fan of beating people down, after all. He was more about loving people, openly and freely and gently and overwhelmingly. But you can't shame sinners with language like that, so instead we talk about things and people being unChristian.

The Bible being a complicated, old, and contradictory collection of texts, it can be hard for the discerning Pharisee -- oops, i mean Christian neighbor -- to delineate exactly what things and people are Christian and which ones are not.

Fortunately, this is one of the few things about which Christ was pretty clear. No parables here, no metaphors, no miracles. Just very plain language: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35, NKJV)

If the things we are doing or saying are not obviously loving, if they come from a place of judgement or pride instead of a place of love and kindness, if we speak and do for the sake of proving ourselves right over someone else instead of for the sake of loving someone better, we are not behaving as Christ would have us behave. This is the measure of how "Christian" we are.

We will walk with each other
We will walk side by side
And we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love.
--Peter Scholtes

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